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Artists who fear for their future were among those who joined the protests

Tens of thousands of Colombians have joined protest marches in major cities across the country against a tax reform bill.

Protesters took to the streets in defiance of a court ruling that the marches should be postponed due to a current spike in Covid-19 cases.

Protesters clashed with riot police in several towns and one person is believed to have died in Cali in “an incident related to the protest.”

The government says reform is essential to alleviate the economic crisis.

Last News Colombians take to the streets to oppose tax reform

Many disputed the comments of the finance minister who had underestimated the cost of a dozen eggs

Colombia’s gross domestic product (GDP) fell 6.8% last year, its worst crash in half a century, and the coronavirus pandemic has pushed its unemployment rate up further.

Last News Colombians take to the streets to oppose tax reform

In Medellín, police fired tear gas to disperse protesters

Colombia currently has one of the lowest tax revenues compared to other countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In 2019, it collected 20% of GDP in taxes; only Mexico received a lower percentage among OECD countries.

Last News Colombians take to the streets to oppose tax reform

Artists and musicians are among those who fear tax reform will make them worse

Last News Colombians take to the streets to oppose tax reform

The protest in the town of Cali was joined by members of indigenous groups

President Iván Duque’s government maintains that the time has come to increase the taxes it collects if it is to cover its expenses.

Last News Colombians take to the streets to oppose tax reform

Demonstrations took place in the capital, Bogotá, but also in other major cities

The proposed reform would lower the payroll tax threshold, affecting anyone with a monthly income of $ 656 or more.

It would also eliminate many of the exemptions currently enjoyed by individuals and increase taxes imposed on businesses. The number of items on which value added tax (VAT) is charged would also increase.

Last News Colombians take to the streets to oppose tax reform

Dozens of protesters were arrested for suspected vandalism and dozens of police were injured

The proposal has sparked outrage from many Colombians who say they are already struggling to feed their families during the pandemic.

The protest was organized by the largest unions in the country, but was also joined by many middle-class Colombians and members of indigenous groups.

And while many protesters said they opposed tax reform, indigenous protesters in the city of Cali toppled a statue of Sebastián de Belalcázar, one of the conquistadors of Colombia in the 16th century.

Last News Colombians take to the streets to oppose tax reform

In Cali, indigenous protesters shot down statue of Spanish conqueror

Last News Colombians take to the streets to oppose tax reform

Indigenous protesters say statue reminds them of crimes committed against them by conquistadors

Indigenous leaders say the statue of the Spaniard represented five centuries of genocide and slavery.

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